Thu, 17 September 20
Released 03 July 1994
On an August afternoon in Box, Wiltshire, there’s a spot on the lawn where if you position yourself correctly, you can separate out the sounds arriving in perfect sync from five directions. The delicate acoustic plucking to your left is Moraccan sintri player Hassan Hakmoun sunk in colloquy with Spanish flamenco guitarist Juan Martin. From a little further away comes the textured throb of African tuned percussion as Burkina Faso group Farafina rev up on the lawn for visiting TV cameras. The distinctly urban rattle-and-shriek from the side is Simon Booth, formerly of Working Week, who has locked himself into a ground floor office with a machine full of rhythm tracks and is peeling off an endless yardage of frenzied wah-wah guitar. The less distinct thudding and scraping from the top floor of that quaint gable cottage is Nigel Kennedy getting to grips with his new incarnation as a fusion fiddler. And dominating the mix with a litigious spirit they’ve been displaying all day, the flock of ducks who make up the permanent genius loci of Real World Studios
For a long time our culture and also the music has been very oppressed. The Scandinavians tried to make it disappear but they didn’t manage, it’s still alive it’s still there and I am one of those, or rather we- me and my musicians- are taking it, letting it flow.
What I’m doing here is setting up different grooves and moods and then inviting musicians to express themselves. A lot of the time we don’t know where it’s heading….but we like it!
My music is such a mix up of different styles, I use music from the Chinese folk movement, reggae, dance, rock’n’roll and African. It’s based on the Chinese tradition but also influenced by music from all over the world.
The 1870s British Utopian socialists like William Morris would look at this and say, “This is it” It’s even a Utopian Socialist setting, with the mill. It’s the most productive, open, non-bullshitting rock and roll environment I’ve ever been in.
It’s a real luxury. I know I’ll never forget this week. To be exposed to so many master musicians, I feel I’m filling up with inspired energy. People are very open and intense here. You can remain in that really high state as you move around. A lot of people here, when they sing, they’re praying. My music is like that too, devotional.
The musicians love doing it, but for the companies it’s a waste of time because they’re out to get instant financial gain, not to make music. If a musician is suddenly inspired by another feeling, another kind of melody, they’re stuck. Their record companies won’t let them, their audience won’t let them. In a situation like this, you can go in and play around and grow.
We tried to encourage a few collaborations. We want people to get outside of their own territory. There is a danger that when you mix all the different colours together you end up with a muddy brown. We want the artists to mix but not to lose the personality and vitality of who they are and what they do. Travel is still a great way of having direct one- on- one experiences with people from different countries. Many of us who participate can’t speak to each other except when we play our instruments, and then smiles break out, it’s a language for everyone.
It is a dream come true to see this place so full of people from so many different cultures and countries finding ways to work together, make music together and be together- it’s a very powerful thing. The WOMAD festival circuit now takes place in so many countries that a real sense of community develops on the road and a lot of magical moments occur.
Through WOMAD we’re able to hijack everyone for a week and bring them all to the studio. The process that takes place goes a lot deeper then jamming. The week focuses as much on writing together as playing together, and in this work we all learn the differences and the amazing amount of common elements in the way we create our music.
We don’t want to be a worthy academic label at all, we want to be vibrant, alive and kicking. We’ve always wanted to work with music that has real passion, atmosphere, grooves, and – whether it connects through the body, heart or the head – can truly touch those open enough to listen. We’d also like to have a focus on the lyrics and are trying so that poets might feel as comfortable in the Real World as musicians.
There’s still so much resistance and conservatism in the mainstream. There’s a lot of subtle, disguised racism. We would like to see the music industry open up so world music can function the way wind and rain wash away the rock face. It’s quite a feminine process, gradually making the edges more interesting and more alive, and allowing people some way in.
Released 26 July 2008
Released 05 June 1992
Thu, 17 September 20
Nayda! is the debut album by Moroccan-French four-piece Bab L' Bluz.
Fri, 24 July 20
Tim Bowness talks us through the songs on his new album, Late Night Laments.
Tue, 15 September 20
As Emotion turns 25, we look at the song lyrics of the classic album.
Mon, 16 March 20